It is 2019, and there is still so much to say about Timothée Chalamet. His fashion choices have been both praised and scrutinized (that “Oh wait, the harness is actually supposed to be a bib?” moment that went down on the 2019 Golden Globes red carpet comes to mind). His reign as young Hollywood’s heartthrob du jour persists (even his fellow Young Hollywood Heartthrob candidate Lucas Hedges seems to believe so).
And increasingly, we see that Chalamet has a certain knack for taking on roles that err on the side of “precocious boy with attitude problems.” But has anyone noticed that the real heroes in Chalamet’s emotional dramas are often the men who play his father? In the Chalamet cinematic universe, there have been at least three solid Good Movie Dads: Steve Carell, in Beautiful Boy; Matthew McConaughey, in Interstellar; and Michael Stuhlbarg, in Call Me By Your Name. Chalamet himself even told W, in a new interview, “I’ve had some great movie dads, I’ve gotta say.” Here’s how Chalamet’s movie dads stack up against each other.
In Beautiful Boy, Chalamet and Steve Carell base their relationship on the real-life father-son duo of Nic and David Sheff. The story, based on Nic and David Sheff’s memoirs, begins when David discovers his son’s drug addiction, and does everything in his power to see his son through to sobriety. Carell, as we’ve known him to be capable of over the years in films like Dan in Real Life and Crazy, Stupid, Love, is full of sympathy and unreasonably patient—right up to the moment he has absolutely had it with Chalamet’s episodes. And while the addiction subject matter is quite serious, Chalamet had a little fun during the film’s press tour by rehashing the story of how nervous he was to play Carell’s son because he’s such a stan of The Office, like most young men of his age.
In Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s 2014 science-laden space drama, Matthew McConaughey plays Chalamet’s astronaut father. As a dad, Cooper is pretty perfect—he teaches his kids how to fly drones, doesn’t reveal that the world is about to end so as to protect his young daughter, and travels through a wormhole in space for the sake of his kids. Plus, he literally saves the world, so there’s that. Although to be fair, Chalamet’s costar Mackenzie Foy, who plays his sister Murph, has a lot more to do in this movie—she actually comes to McConaughey’s rescue in space, in a way. (Chalamet himself has admitted that he “wept for an hour” when he saw the movie and realized how little he had to do in it. Still, that should take nothing away from McConaughey as a super dad.)
Also, sorry Anne Hathaway, but this is the best Matthew McConaughey impression to exist on the Internet, and it comes from the man’s movie son.
At this point, what else is there to say about Michael Stuhlbarg as Professor Perlman, father to the impressionable and angsty young Elio in Call Me By Your Name, besides the fact that he was robbed of an Academy Award nomination? If you didn’t cry during Stuhlbarg’s moving monologue near the end of the movie, in which he explained to his heartbroken son that to feel pain is to live, then you might lack tear ducts. It was one of the most emotional father-son moments in recent movie memory. In fact, the scene was so felt around the Internet that even self-professed Chalamet fan Frank Ocean joked that Michael Stuhlbarg was the ultimate dad, writing on his Tumblr, “Michael Stuhlbarg is my new dad now and that’s that,” on his Tumblr. I mean, when Professor Perlman said, “We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new,” who didn’t feel that?